ORLANDO – The UCF volleyball team is set to invite Tulane to The Venue over the weekend as the Knights will do battle with The Green Wave on Friday, Feb. 5 and Saturday, Feb. 6. Both matches will be a 2:00 p.m.
Although Tulane is a part of The American, this series will not count toward either team's conference record.
"Both coaches felt it was important to get as many matches in during this shortened season as possible," said head coach Todd Dagenais regarding the matchup. "It was difficult to schedule matches outside of the conference, so although this is not a match that will count toward our conference records, we both decided that playing each other in the preseason made sense for us."
Live stats will be provided for both matches and they will also be available to watch live on ESPN+.
The Knights remain undefeated to start the season after sweeping UNF twice last weekend. UCF is 3-0 to start the year for the first time since 2014 when they were perfect through their first six matches. The Knights would go on to win their first American Athletic Conference title that same season.
UCF junior McKenna Melville is coming off a weekend in which she earned the AAC Offensive Player of the Week award.
The Offensive Player of the Week award marked Melville's seventh of her career as she earned the distinction two times in 2019 and was a four-time recipient in her freshman season in 2018.
Melville was unanimously tabbed the American Athletic Conference Preseason Player of the Year to begin the season in early January after posting one of the best sophomore seasons in UCF Volleyball history in 2019, finishing with a team-high 4.49 kills per set and scorching 548 kills on the year. Melville ranked 10th in total kills, 12th in total points, fifth in total attacks, 23rd in kills per set and 24th in points per set nationally in 2019.
Following UCF's opening week, Melville has a team-high 4.40 kills per set and is hitting at a .382 clip.
Melville was not the only Knight to earn conference honors on Monday as middle blocker Nerissa Moravec was a part of the five-player weekly honor roll.
Moravec has started the season off with a solid 14 block assists and one solo. She also has 13 kills and is hitting an incredible .444 from the middle position. Moravec's block totals have steadily come to begin the season as she chimed in with five block assists on opening night, five on Saturday and four in Sunday night's match.
Both Moravec and Melville are UCF Volleyball co-captains.
THE GREEN WAVE
The Knights faced Tulane just once in 2019, winning 3-1 on October 27 at The Venue. At the time, it was UCF's seventh straight win of what would become a 10-game winning streak.
The Knights came out strong in the match, taking the first two sets by five points or more before dropping the third set to Tulane, 25-18. UCF bounced right back to win the final set, 25-17, and the match, 3-1.
The Knights are 18-10 all-time against Tulane headed into Friday afternoon's contest, with UCF's last loss coming toward the end of the 2016 season in a 3-1 defeat.
All home UCF Volleyball matches this spring will be free to fans on a first-come, first-served basis. Capacity for The Venue this season is roughly twenty-five percent of full capacity. There will be no physical ticketing, but the number of fans entering The Venue will be counted and admission will be cut off once capacity is reached. Ticketing protocols, as well as capacity limitations for fans are subject to change throughout the season.
"I feel very fortunate that we will have some fans here to cheer for us," said Dagenais. "I think that will give us the extra pep in our step when we perform at home."
Fans will be required to wear face coverings at all times, except while actively eating or drinking. Other safety measures in place for the 2021 season include:
- Hand sanitizer stations will be located throughout the concourse
- Floor graphics are located throughout the Arena where lines may form to encourage social distancing
- Bathrooms and other common touch points will be cleaned and sanitized regularly
- COVID-19 signage encouraging best practices will be located throughout the Arena
- Every other row will be blocked off to encourage social distancing
For the latest information on ticketing information for 2021 UCF Volleyball home events, contact the ticket office at (407) 823-1000, or follow us on social at UCF Volleyball on Facebook (/UCFVolleyball), Twitter (@UCF_Volleyball) and Instagram (@UCF.Volleyball).
[On facing Tulane]
"Tulane has been on a steady climb for several years since coach Barnes took them over and a lot of coaches in our conferences feel that they are in contention to win the western division of The American so it's a good test for us. They are experienced with only three freshmen, they have dynamic playmakers, and they are going to be well-coached in-game. It's going to be a typical UCF-Tulane chess match battle, which it has been for several years now."
[On what he would like to see from the team over the weekend]
"I just want to see continued development. I want to see improvement from where we were last week against UNF. We need to clean up some mistakes we had in those matches… and we need to just keep maturing as a team and stay low err on offense, create opportunities on defense and continue to be a tougher serving team."
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